Are we about to be fooled again?

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
Don’t get fooled again
No, no!


Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

– The Who


The ‘new’ DeKalb county school board had a ‘retreat’ yesterday. Thankfully, Stan Jester, candidate for the district 1 seat attended and reported on a live blog. Read his report here >> 02/08/2014 DeKalb Schools Board Retreat

We were shocked and confused as to the content of the very first THREE hours of the retreat. Were they arguing the Common Core? Teacher merit pay? Budget cuts? Curricula? Why no… They argued over the bloody district lines for their board seats!!!

And they are acting as if we are at square one. Obviously, this board was not paying attention during all of the contentious debate on this very subject over the last few years. Obviously, they are totally unfamiliar with the fact that the public has tired of the subject and we were all under the impression that the laws had already been changed and maps had already been approved.

Obviously, they did not read our post, So, what about the next school board election? as to the history of the laws on the subject and the urgency to simply approve the maps on the table at the legislature ASAP. Qualifying ends MARCH 7. If we don’t have approved maps, the office of DeKalb Voter Registration and Elections cannot qualify candidates and we cannot even hold an election at all in May (as required by law for all non-partisan elections, which DeKalb school board is supposed to be.)

Apparently, we were wrong. All of the former debates, legislation, maps and arguments mean nothing and we will now be subjected to yet another lengthy, egocentric debate about the school board district voting lines. [Insert moan here.]

In fact, they are so clueless, that they actually are in the process of pushing the legislature to return to the full NINE board seats – and ‘tweak’ the district lines – going so far as to name names as Jim McMahan did when he insisted Don McChesney’s home be moved into District 4 (his own district!)

Sound familiar?

It is once again, Groundhog Day in DeKalb.

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63 Responses to Are we about to be fooled again?

  1. concerned citizen says:

    This board and the Palace are the most ridiculous group of morons I’ve ever seen in one place. You see, the board loves its power, loves it, loves it. I’m glad Stan was there to record it for all time. They have no shame.

  2. TracyW says:

    They can vote to disregard the law? What? Does the governor need to take them all off the job again? What happens if our legislators decide they don’t like their districts?

    I must be missing something. The board members are supposed to redraw their own lines?

    Have we passed some laws allowing whacky backy already? The board has no business micromanaging budget line items, and no business allocating contracts. They need to look at the big picture, and make sure that the staff appears to be doing business in a legal manner. If there is hanky panky, fire all the staff and get some that can be trusted.

  3. Ella says:

    Don was not the only person who had their district moved from district 2 to 4. However, they kept me in district 4 when they did move Don.

    I suspected Ms. Oliver did not want me in district 2. She wanted to help Orson all she could. I did beat Orson once.

    I suspect that Jim McMahan would like to move me back to district 2 as he knows I might run against him. I suspect alternative motives by Jim McMahan. I admit I could be wrong but it does bother me that they want to continue to play with the lines for political gain. This is all this is about.

  4. I for one am happy to hear that the lines may be changed, however rather than the 9 being “at large” representatives, I would like to see them create smaller districts so that Lakeside and Tucker may be officially split apart. For far too long, we have in Tucker trusted that the shared board seat would be someone who would fight for all our school equally and what we have had as a result is a Lakeside controlled board seat that brought unbelieveable problems to nearly ALL of our Tucker schools, except the ones they are coveting for their proposed city. TUcker and Lakeside have VERY bad blood beween them right now and I do not wish to have my child’s fate or my neighborhood’s value or my tax dollars in the hands of someone who, like Womack, will only think of Lakeside and bring every harm possible to Tucker shcools and igore the pleas of our community.

    PLEASE DeKalb School Board, PLEASE split Lakeside and Tucker. We cannot work alongside them any longer!!

  5. I don’t like to distrust my own neighbors, but we also learned that McMahan convinced Michelle Penkava to be his finance manager. She is now a leader in the Tucker City movement and has been our Tucker Parent Council leader. How can she by loyal to Tucker AND help the campaign of a Lakeside City proponent? We had two Tucker candidates in the last election, yet our own parent council stood up for a Lakeside resident AND has spoken up for the Druid Hills Charter in front of the board, but has said nothing about the issues still ongoing in our TUcker schools. WHo gives these Parent COuncils their power? Why are there no public votes for their leadership? I know Dunwoody and EMory Lavista hold votes, but not in TUcker. ANd if TUcker/Lakeside is one politcal district, then how did Emory Lavista Druid Hills and Lakeside get the okay to form a separate council that leaves Tucker by the wayside. These city debates get ugly when you look at what we have done together collectively in terms of trust, leadership and financial contributions when you learn that some of the ones you trusted are now plotting to leave you and your children behind.

  6. Ella, we don’t know you personally, but have heard many wonderful things about you. I hope you do run for whichever district your residence is actually in. I don’t like the idea of gerrymandering just for certain candidates to get an edge. I like redrawing lines based on communities that can work together and not against one another. However, I thought you had left the county are were now a teacher in Fulton. Is that true?

  7. Ella says:

    GetthecelloutAtl I do work in Fulton County as a teacher. I left DeKalb County Schools 12 -15 years ago because I saw that money was not getting to the classroom. I left the school system so I could be an advocate for change in the DeKalb County School System.

    My baby graduated from high school a couple of years ago. He graduated from Lakeside. However, I taught at Lakeside. Lakeside has its issues also. Regardless of where your children go to school (IMO) if they are not in Honors or AP classes the situations for students is not excellent throughout the county. Every child in DeKalb deserves nothing but the best.

    I am supportive of school board members living in a district but the entire county voting for them. This is because their votes affect the entire county and each school board member should be interested in the county as a whole. This has been a big issue with the school board in the past. They are fighting for their district and do not necessarily always consider the county as a whole.

    I do live in the Lakeside area but I care about every student in DeKalb. Every student in the county deserves the best teachers, facilities and teaching materials possible.

    I do feel there are some positive changes occurring in the school system. However, knowing that the school board district lines were an issue really makes me angry and gives me incentive to consider running again. Knowing they want to keep 9 board members when the law has changed the number to 7 also is really lame.

    I really was leaning toward not running for school board until I saw this. This is just more of the same and shame on them for doing this.

  8. Teachers matter says:

    My students’ futures are at stake, my salary needs adjustment (up, please) and this is how the board spends its time. Thank you, Stan, for alerting all to this disgraceful show of selfishness and incompetence. I’ll scream, “Liar”, if any one of them claims to be for the kids!

  9. Concerned DeKalb Mom says:

    I’m fond of Ella’s idea…Board members must reside within a certain district but are voted on by the county at-large.

  10. thedeal2 says:

    GTCO, Michelle Penkava’s neighborhood is included in Lakeside City’s map, so she doesn’t have to be a Tucker proponent any longer.

  11. howdy1942 says:

    I’m not sure why Michelle Penkava would be one of the three leaders in the Tucker2014 movement if she were happy to be a part of Lakeside’s effort. Had it not been for the Tucker2014 movement, then the Lakeside City Alliance would not have had such formidable opposition. She and her team have crafted a very sound proposal that is inclusive, that doesn’t have funny boundaries that run along residential streets, and one that has been very realistic as to what new functions a City of Tucker should assume. My understanding is that Lakeside is proposing a total police force of 83 officers, including supervisory and administrative personnel, for providing 24/7/365 coverage for an area that runs from I-85 on the west well past I-285 on the east.

    I’ve attended many of the Lakeside meetings and Ms. Wordworth has been clear in citing that the efforts of the Lakeside City Alliance have nothing to do with the woes of the Dekalb County School System. That why I was puzzled at last Monday night’s meeting when 6 out of 8 speakers who spoke in favor of the Lakeside City Alliance cited the school system as their major concerns. I have many friends who live in the area included in the Lakeside map and concerns about police protection have never come up. Those of us who support Tucker have also talked about the preponderance of potholes throughout our community, but the major concerns have always been zoning decisions by Dekalb County. Some of those have lived with us for years and few of us have ever forgotten them. To the credit of our police officers, they were very sensitive and addressed some of those bad zoning decisions.

    I had so hoped that Lakeside, Tucker, and Briarcliff could hash out their differences. I so want to preserve what has always been historical Tucker, the readiness of its community to work in the interest of all that is good about Tucker, to restore our Main Street and now to restore Lawrenceville Highway, and to maintain our traditions. Failing a compromise, I had at least hoped for a mediated solution. I’m disappointed that Lakeside has chosen to “strongarm” its proposal, under the guidance of an influential Republican Senator from Dunwoody, through a Republican-control House and a Republican-controlled Senate for signature by a Republican Governor. Increasingly, it is looking like that will happen. That tactic will be a disaster for our community and I hope that the Dekalb Legislative Delegation will not support this tactic. From my perspective, our community – Lakeside and Tucker – are much more important. While I don’t like a number of the zoning decisions of Dekalb County, I also don’t want to be sensitive to concerns about addressing the pensions of those police officers and firefighters who have served us so faithfully for so long. But I do think that Dekab needs to move aggressively toward changing its form of government and not draw that out. I can’t remember a time this millennium that we haven’t had controversy in the off of the CEO and that has got to stop, as in NOW!

    The Dekalb County School System, namely, its school board and its administration, is badly broken. Except for a different school board and a different superintendent, little has changed. We need fresh faces with fresh ideas with a common commitment to serve all of our communities. I’m OK with individual districts elected representatives, but they need set aside selfish ambitions and selfish district concerns to address the needs throughout the County and get the focus on the classroom. Our County and our school system both have spent too much time dealing with ethics issues and too much money on lawyers defending those who can’t seem to understand what is right and what is wrong. I wish that I were 10 years younger and Ella, you would have come more competition!

  12. howdy1942 says:

    I’ve been out of town today and just got around to reading Stan’s comments – Stan – a great big THANK YOU!! I’m sure that you had many other things that you would have liked to have been doing with your Saturday than attending a meeting of this school board.


    Reading her comments, I think that Morley sounds so much like Copelin-Wood! What is there about the legislature – both Houses and the Governor all saying that the maximum size of the school board is to be 7, not 9! Get over it and move on.
    This board has had 5 standing ovations! This board has the broad support of the State and the Public? Jay Leno used to quip to applause for some of his jokes: “No mercy applause, please”. Sounds like this board was getting “mercy applause”. My grandfather was a farmer and I remember him coming in at the end of the day. My grandmother would call him by name and tell him that she has smelled hogs that were more pleasant. He would go get a bath, come back, and my grandmother would elevate him to smelling like the chicken coop!
    The more I hear from Thad Mayfield, the more I like that guy. He is perhaps the most realistic and most reasoned member of this board. I wish that he would consider running for the board. I think that I could get out and support him. He is perhaps the only one that seems to be attuned to the public and what the People want.
    And McMahon is satisfied with the status quo. Tell you what, that’s not what I heard many of his constituents from Lakeside say last week. If Lakeside becomes a city and that Amendment to the Georgia Constitution approved by the People of Georgia, then it will be milliseconds before Lakeside begins to organize its independent school system. You heard it here first! Jim needs to poll his constituents. In fact, I don’t think many residents in any of the existing or planned cities have any reservations about creating different school systems unless the DCSS makes some improvements in community relations first and changes the emphasis to the classroom.

    Stan, thank you so much – very enlightening! Perhaps the board should have just stayed home and saved the taxpayers the cost of lunch and refreshments! And Stan, then you could have stayed home, too!

  13. Stan Jester says:

    Link to summary of discussion and video

    Board Lines Recommendations
    * Non staggered 4 year terms starting 2015 regardless of the number and configuration of seats. Passed 9-0
    * Tweak district #2. Move a couple streets to district #4. Passed 9-0
    * Keep it at 9 seats as long as SPLOST or any other financial negative impact is decoupled. Coleman, Orson, Mayfield vote NO. Passed 6-3
    * Note: 7 At large seats. McMahan, Mayfield, Orson Coleman, Irwin – Vote No. Fails 5-4
    * Go to 7 seats as stated by the current law if there are financial consequences with going to 9 seats. Passes 8-1

  14. wating for superman says:

    I am so not surprised Mr. Jester. Thank you for re-enforcing my findings on this “new board” changed faces with same agenda. This was made evident at their first board meeting when they approved the budget with no training or review.

  15. Emory LaVista Parent Council At The Capitol

    In lieu of a February meeting, the ELPC Board invites our members to join us at the Capital to see our Georgia Legislators in action! We will go to the Capitol on Wednesday, February 19th from 9 am to lunch. (206 Washington St. on Capitol Square downtown Atlanta, near the intersection of I-20 and I-75/85.)

    We will meet with the DeKalb Delegation in room 514 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building on Mitchell Street, across the street and south of the Capitol from 9 – 10 a.m. Afterwards, we will take a tour of the Capitol and watch the session.

    Please RSVP to julia_at_juliabyrne_dot_com if you are planning to join us!

    To receive our notices, send an email to

    or visit our web page:

  16. DecaturMax says:

    At large seats? Really? My understanding is that at large seats would be elected county wide for all seats. If each voter gets 7 votes, the winning 7 candidates could conceivably all live in the same small area or attend the same mega church. Only the majority can be heard. The tyranny of the majority will silence opposing voices within the school board. A terrible idea that is being called discriminatory in other counties with a minority voice that does not feel “heard” or represented. One step forward and 2 steps back…

  17. Fred in DeKalb says:

    @DecaturMax, thanks for pointing that out. Those advocating for countywide election of all seats must not be aware of the history behind this.

  18. Concerned DeKalb Mom says:

    DecaturMax–There is a difference between all seats being voted on at large…7 people voted from a pool of 20 from around the county, for example…vs. everyone having a vote for 7 candidates who must each reside in a particular district. So, candidates for District 1, Stan Jester’s district, would be voted on by residents around the county…but he could only be opposed by candidates also residing in District 1. Same for Jay Cunningham…he wouldn’t be running against Stan, only against others who reside in his district…but I would then have a say on whether Jay was elected to the Board again. I’m fond of this idea. Gives me a bit more voice in who designates where my tax dollars are spent.

  19. decaturmax says:

    Thanks for the clarification concerned mom.even with local candidates , I still think it sets up a situation where local voices can be silenced by a “voting block” with a unified agenda….like maintaining the status quo. How well is Stan Jester going to do county wide?

  20. Just a note: Comments are sent to moderation. We check them often and cut them loose. Some automatically go to our spam folder, which we try to search as often as possible. Comments that we consider too personally harsh, off-topic, argumentative simply won’t be posted. That includes criticisms of this blog. We consider that trolling – it throws the discussion off-topic. If you have an issue with how we run this blog, feel free to email us. Otherwise, as we always say, it’s very easy to start a blog. If you or DeKalb schools would like to start one that has a more positive spin, we strongly encourage you to do so.

  21. We have a lifelong politician as superintendent. He has been advocating for people to work to place and/or support candidates in other districts. It’s definitely how it’s done if you are trying to affect change. I wouldn’t be surprised if Thurmond himself is trying to get his supporters to run. How fun to be able to choose and work to elect your own bosses!

  22. Concerned DeKalb Mom says:

    Let’s face it…no matter what group gets elected, however they are elected, there is always a chance for a block of 4 to silence 3, or a block of 5 to silence 4. Doesn’t matter how they’re elected.

    I consider myself an educated voter. I vote in elections every year. It makes me crazy that my voice can be so completely cancelled out because I can only vote for 2 of 9 board members in DeKalb. There are those who are on the Board (or were) to make DCSS better for ALL students and those who were only working on behalf of their voting district. Making the vote county-wide holds the people in other districts accountable to my concerns as well as the concerns of the people in their own backyard. That’s how the BOE should focus and work.

  23. Stan Jester says:

    The vote for 7 At large seats failed 5-4 (McMahan, Mayfield, Orson, Coleman, Irwin – Vote No. )

  24. howdy1942 says:

    DecaturMax hit the nail on the head – A Countywide vote for a slate of candidates would give us a school board filled with what the likes of that majority of the former board. I do not want at-large candidates nor do I want staggered terms. As the Georgia Supreme Court noted in its ruling against Walker, it is the board as a whole that either succeeds or fails or is really dysfunctional. And the County needs to address that board as a whole at the same time for what it as a board accomplished or failed to accomplish.

    We have got to find a way to avoid these 5-4 or 4-3 decisions that so divide our county. I”m not sure what that might look like, but perhaps there are some categories of decisions that ought to require a 6-3 or a 5-2 majority. This would serve the purpose of getting all members of the board to come to a solution that would be less divisive. We are facing a formidable possibility that the Amendment to change the Georgia Constitution to allow the formation of independent school systems will get to the ballot. And the case for doing that could be pictured positively – let the local jurisdictions decide how many school districts will have. Besides, the existing Amendment passed in 1945 – almost 70 years ago and I’m sure that we can all agree that a whole lot has changed since then in Georgia. If that happens, Dunwoody and Brookhaven are history for Dekalb County. If Lakeside becomes a city, then it will shortly follow. Dekalb County will be faced with the reality of sharply lower tax revenues to support its school system on the one side and be limited by the millage rate cap to increase taxes in the County. School taxes in Dekalb County are already the highest in the State and I doubt there would be much support for any tax increase even if it were possible. And I doubt a Republican controlled Legislature or a Republican Governor would offer any support to increase that cap. If and when any change in that school Amendment happens, there will be no turning back the clock – that will be permanent! And I don’t think that legislation about changing the Georgia Constitution is going away any time soon.

    I hope that we in Dekalb will take this upcoming school board election in May as serious as any we have ever had. It will be the first since probation. Don’t let anyone, even your pastor suggest or, worse yet, tell you how to vote. And don’t vote for anyone just because they are a friend or because they are a member of your church or even because they are your neighbor. Study the issues and vote accordingly.

  25. One thing about losing the tax bases if and when cities form their own school systems — we mustn’t forget that DeKalb schools’ costs would go down exponentially, as they wouldn’t have to educate those city kids anymore.

  26. Ella says:

    I understand the concern for an all county votes for school board members.

    However, one of the most dysfunctional issues with our board in DeKalb is the personal concerns of each district and the behind the scene deals made school board members could get the votes for what they wanted for their own district.

    I do feel that every school board member should be accountable to all members in the county and then this could help this problem that we have had on the school board in the past.

  27. @Howdy: Mark my words. These former board members will win their seats back by hammering home the point that their constituents voting rights were trampled by the Governor. This is going to be the singular issue. They will prove their point – the people’s votes are the people’s votes. What’s the Gov going to do? Dismiss them all again? How racially divisive would that be? It doesn’t even matter that he replaced a black with a black – in fact, that’s almost worse. It’s like saying “these are acceptable blacks…” And on top of that – he paid ZERO attention to gender. We elected four women to the Board. We now only have two women on the board. There’s no way around this one. They will make their point and as much as we aren’t fans – we can’t really disagree that their voting rights were tossed aside — especially when the Gov chose to keep on the 3 newly elected board members – two of whom are white males.

    [BTW – Although we hear so much about how much more educated and qualified this appointed board is, 5 of the 9 current members bios have yet to be posted on the website: ]

    In addition — if Michael Thurmond has been the key to the ‘recovery’ of the school system, then we must give the dismissed school board the credit – as it was they who hired Thurmond. One has to wonder if the same progress would have been made with the former board and Thurmond. After all, Thurmond fought hard for them to remain in their elected seats.

  28. ALERT: DeKalb Schools Closed Tuesday

    The DeKalb County school system will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, February 11. No classes will be held. Employees have been instructed to remain home.

  29. concerned citizen says:

    The way things are going down out in the school houses, this will be one day that teachers and students have to do with less, and that’s how it is. I will actually save some bucks by having to stay home and not go out to buy more school supplies. Of course, I can always order on the internet. I’ll have to if school reopens any day this week. I have no paper, no pencils, no crayons, no bulletin board, no construction paper, no white board, no black board,no books, no erasers, no dry erase markers, no permanent markers, no colored pencils, no notebooks; I who have nothing…but myself and my credit cards, and the board is fussing about their futures as board members. It didn’t take long for them to become addicted to power; with Thurmond as their idol, it’s been fame and glory and foot-stomping for them, BTW, what was the cost of the boxed lunches for the “retreat.”? To Stan, did they give you one or did you have the pay for your own lunch? They are a bad bunch, and sorry, dear Howdy, I love you but Thad is a sham! Check it out!

  30. Concerned DeKalb Mom says:

    Stan–the at-large vote failed to pass as a recommendation by this current DeKalb BOE. That doesn’t mean it can’t be the way the vote is determined by the state legislature.

  31. howdy1942 says:

    @DSW – you are probably right about some of the members of the former board that choose to run again. They will likely point out that they were “wronged”m that they have suffered because of the “failures” and “mistakes” of a biased justice system. Don’t know if you got a chance to read the Tucker Neighbor last week and see, once again, an article by Eugene Walker stating how he had been so wronged and the injustice he has endured. He admitted that he was no lawyer, but that somehow a Federal Judge and a unanimous Georgia Supreme Court, all lawyers, were so wrong. There were some members of that former board that seemed to try to consistently do the right thing, such as Dr. Speaks and Nancy Jester. I think that Don McChesney tried to do the right thing but, since he was not re-elected, and was not removed, that isn’t an issue. Let’s hope that Dekalb County never has to go through that again.

    @concerned citizen – I am trying to be nice! Mayfield has been a pleasant surprise and has at least asked more questions than the others. He was willing to give Druid Hills a chance. I don’t live in Druid Hills, but it looked like they had a good case to at least been given a try. Had it failed or had it not met expectations, then the school board had the authority to rescind that charter. But not to even give it a chance?

    Back to @DSW’s point and that is a point well taken. We have, all of us, got to get to a point where we can like people, but when they do something that harms our community, then we can’t excuse that. We have got to stop yelling “injustice” every time someone we know and like gets sent to jail or when one’s official behavior threatens the best interests of our children or when they can’t rise above selfish adult interests and do the right thing. Ethics matter. Honesty matters. Threatening the futures of our children matters. Trust matters. I was struck during that 14-hour marathon conducted by the State Education Board as to how often members of the former board talked about “him” or “her” and how “he” or “she” had been unjustly wronged with absolutely no word of mention about the consequences of what they had done and its impact on 100,000 students in the Dekalb County School System. It took a Federal Judge and a unanimous Georgia Supreme Court to point that out and interject the interests of our kids.

    I just hope that our people are much wiser this time around. If these former members are re-elected and we are once again placed on probation, then I hope that the Governor, whoever that might be, will again remove the board, but this time go one step further and have the State Board take over the Dekalb County School System.

  32. Doesn’t the law that allowed the Governor to remove the board state that if they lost their appeal, their removal would be “permanent?” If so, why all this concern for former board members who might run for office again? What does permanent mean in this case?

    Surely they can’t be trying to tell us that permanent meant the same thing as “until the end of their current term.” For one thing, when the law DID mean that, it actually read that way.

    And, “the people” were wise in the last election, so let’s not be so down on ourselves here. The people voted Womack out, McChesney out, Bowen didn’t even run and Speaks was only returned because she was the best candidate. Surprisingly, she was not spared by the Governor, even though the new board members who were mentioned in the SACS report were.

    But consider this: You are a parent who lives in one part of the county, but your child attends school in another district. What incentive do you have to vote in your own area? Wouldn’t you be more concerned about who wins in the district where your child attends school? And if you enjoy an expensive program with fully funded transportation, wouldn’t you be worried that the brightest or most ethical person in your area might actually say that isn’t fair and you could wind up harming your child’s education even if it is the right thing to do for your community at large?

    There are so many scenarios like this one that take place here. The only way to level those out and make the elections fair would be to allow us to ALL vote for ALL board seats. That might even encourage people to show up and vote or else they are stuck with a board member that someone else’s area selected for them. ALSO, all board members would have to be familiar with ALL the issues and be able to answer questions at the debate forums in all parts of the county intelligently. They need to know BOTH sides of a story, because often they make decisions that help some, but harm others. That HAS to STOP. All children deserve the best we can give them and no one should be HARMED by the outcome of school board decisions. Education and HARM should not go hand in hand. Property taxes should not be spent on bringing HARM potentially to your OWN community, which is what has happened to about 3/4 of Tucker thanks to a Lakeside board member who carried his school rivalry into his position and didn’t care about anything other than his own immediate neighborhood because that is who he knew would vote for him.

    I want to see realignment of the districts especially if cities form, regardless of whether or not they say they are about the school system. A child should not have to LIVE in a city of Lakeside, and attend Tucker High School. Don’t we have enough bullys in the schools already. Why not SPLIT these warring areas and let them have the “local control” in this portion of their communities which is what they really BOTH want? We don’t even have a shared Parent Council. Why, they, must we share a board seat?

    And who can explain why PERMANENT doesn’t mean PERMANENT???

  33. @Cell: We have moved your comment about Tucker and Lakeside cityhood to the proper thread about the legislation. We also edited it for content as we don’t allow posting suspicions against ordinary citizens.

    As far as the comment above that we left here, as it was relevant to this thread, we do see your point about the word, “permanent”. I wonder if one of the DeKalb delegation can answer that. Have you asked? If so, let us know their reply.

  34. Ella says:


    The deals worked on behind closed doors have always been a problem. Walker worked out many deals behind closed doors with Orson and the Fernbank PTA/advocate groups. They got their school lines and they ended up with a new grade school. I sincerely do not know the actually need for a new grade school. Maybe there was a significant need.

    I feel sure there are deals behind closed doors regarding the Lakeside/Tucker lines.

    However, the reason that no school district is just one school cluster is to hopefully prevent school board members from having interests in just certain areas. There was a need at one point to make sure that the school board lines were not so specific to be within school attendance lines. Lakeside’s school district is currently split mostly between district 2 and 4. However, Tucker appears to be mostly in district 4. However, none of the school attendance lines go with the school attendance lines. This is deliberate in nature.

    This is my reasoning for wanting a county line vote for all school board member. I am sure that this scares some of the current school board members due to their votes on certain items regardless of the current school board seat each of them holds. However, every vote a school board member makes should be about what is best for all the students in DeKalb County and not just their district. This still continues to be a problem with our school board members and IMO I think a countywide vote would be good for the students of DeKalb. I fear race is a reason many would be opposed to a vote like this and I regret this. We must get beyond the color of individuals skin in DeKalb County and do what is right for the students and all taxpayers in DeKalb.

  35. thedustyroad says:

    As I read the comments and information that was shared from the opening of the retreat I am mortified and sad. The issues that beseige the positive gains of our students have again been pushed aside for selfish issues. I have spent 32 years in education at “dear old Dekalb” and it has successfully caused me to bid goodbye. The focus of education in the ranks of the board, superintendent, and some members of the “palace crew” has pushed aside our #1 focus—–our future, the students. I wish for a return to the focus by those who make the decisions and push it down to those who are in the “trenches” making their visions come true with our students. Truly, we must decry these idiotic decisions and take a stand to say “enough is enough.” Teachers, thank you for all that you do to make a difference in students’ lives. It’s not an easy road with all of the silly mandates (from the board and GDOE), work with more children, work hours past the mandated hours without pay to commensurate your dedication, work without necessary supplies, work without any increase in pay for YEARS, and on and on and on. Dekalb BOE….you should be ashamed of yourself. THE STUDENTS AND ALL WHO ARE THERE TO HELP THEM (BUS DRIVERS, CUSTODIANS, PARAS, AUX STAFF, ETC) COME FIRST. I will continue to watch Dekalb’s progress doing the right thing but I can not fight this battle any longer.

  36. Another comment says:

    What I find most troubling is this 6 appointed and 3 newbie elected board, led by insider of all from the New birth administration path, at the very beginning of their term decided to basically only meet one day a month. They they decided that this would be a marathon one day session during the work day, maybe spreading to the early evening. My biggest angst and the angst of all community members is this first order of business that they did upon becoming a board is this severely limited community input and the communities ability to attend the board meetings and perhaps more importantly the work sessions. They seem to put everything on the consent addenda during the work sessions which are held in the middle of the school day. If people are only able to attend the late afternoon sessions or evening sessions they have not a clue as to what is on these massive consent addenda’s. These barren board meeting minutes, with only the board members ( and the complain they are given briefing books without enough time to read them), the General public ( aka; the stake holders, taxpayers, parents, teachers. Students, bus drivers, para’s) have no idea what the board is acting on. Consent agenda should be outlawed!!! They obstruct the publics right to an open meeting.

    The pay of the school board members in Dekalb county school Board is outrageous. Who has a 1 day a month part-time position that only requires you show up at the office, or have public hours where your have even be contacted and interact with others 1 day a month for the most part, and be paid over $23k per year. Just 23k x 20 days per month is a rate of $460,000 per year. An enumeration higher than the $400,000 president of the United States, whether or not it be Obama or a republican. Remember not long ago the US president was limited to $200,000. In the private sector and even in GS -14/15 above federal positions it is a given that you will be tethered to your blackberry/iPhone and laptop. That you will review and right reports prior to the all day and numerous meetings you attend as part of any upper management position. Let me just say this many Ed doctorates and PHd’s complain everyday that they have been screwed year after year by colleges and universities by the practice of hiring part-time adjunct professors to teach 1-2 courses a semester. So it means very little that these folks have doctorates! when there are so many who are teaching college classes for $2-4k per class per semester, without benefits. Remember these board positions come with health and retirement benefits as well. (Not as important on the health insurance with the ACA).

    My big question is why is Dekalb or any of these school boards paying such outrageous amounts to very very part-time school board members. As Chamblee dad has pointed out only Mayfield and Orson return emails. On the previous board only Nancy Jester did . ( My father was an elected one and only part-time building inspector for a small town in NY. he was only paid $3,000 per year. he was required to sit in the city hall two evenings a month, every other week for several hours. He also attended all zoning meetings. Did all inspections on site. Was required to go to code training and an annual head building inspector meeting for every municipality in the lovely capital city of Albany,NY ( his reimbursement was mileage and covered a red roof in or motel 6 rate), his office had no resources except his phone calls to me child with an architecture and Construction mgmt master’s, I had worked for a NY architect during college and do know the code, much tougher than GA., he had much more work than these board members for 3k).

    I would suggest the board pay be reduced to say double the current rate of jury duty pay in Dekalb County, then any actual reimbursement for parking with reciepts. mill age, from the second place on, just like IRS rules, not from home. We would see a big change in players, as to who applied. Right now the $23k has been a lot more then some of the elected folks could earn working full time.

  37. You bring up a good point Another comment — the HR department stated that if you paid teachers a full years salary they would be in line with the central office (which in fact is not true, and is also irrelevant). BUT – what’s good for the goose is good for the gander – so why not do the same math for school board members? They can’t use it to make decisions about others if they aren’t willing to apply it to themselves.

  38. howdy1942 says:

    Have any cell towers been approved? If so, where are they supposed to be built? How would an at-large, county-wide referendum be an improvement on what we have now? How wouldn’t that avoid having an entire board like the majority of the former board? How could one in South Dekalb become informed well enough to not vote for a local candidate? Or vice versa? Shouldn’t school board members represent the interests of the local district? If not, why shouldn’t we just elect all of the House of Representatives on State-wide ballots?

  39. $23K per year is not the same as $23K per day. I think someone needs to revisit the math on that one.

    Here is a portion of my letter to the DeKalb Delegation on this issue:—my-opinion/p/countywide-school-board-elections-it-can-happen

    I submitted it earlier to DSW so they already knew that yes, I have asked about the “permanent” line in the law. I will let you know if I get an answer or explanation.

    DSW, I’m fine with whatever edits you felt were necessary, but I am concerned about being singled out for censorship on this topic of cityhood and how it relates to schools. I’m sorry I don’t agree with everything you post because, obviously, if I don’t live in Dunwoody, I will likely be someone who has a child that will be left out. That’s not really fair to her, but we will figure it out. What concerns me more is that you have built a blog that is very well know for calling out the corruption and back room deals. My comment that I think you chose not to post was one that I based on an email exchange that YOU exposed and posted in your files section of THIS bog. That was where my “suspicion” first came from. The other point I made, if I am recalling it correctly, was not speculation. It is a verifiable fact. I should have posted a link to the document, and I still can, but please do not make me sound as if I am a rumor mill parent. Many times I bring up what rumors are going around because I hate getting lied to and hearing variations of the truth. When these things are brought to light here, often differences can be settled or understandings reached.

    I hope everyone remembers that it took 10 years to get out a corrupt school board but we (collectively) finally did it with the help of SACS. Do you know how? Because enough of us reached across those traditional lines that others see as dividers and we engaged our fellow citizens and parents in conversations about what is wrong at THEIR schools, not just our own.

    And, by learning that we have far more COMMON issues than we do differences, we were able to work together and call the poor practices into the light and expose the harm it was doing to so many children. Working together, we accomplished something that i am sure the powers at the time never thought would happen. I hope everyone here continues to support that inclusive line of thinking and collaboration as we move ahead so we do not risk all that progress toward taking the power back and placing our children’s needs (collectively) back into focus rather than allowing anything else to distract us. This is not just an issue in Dekalb or Georgia. Schools all over the U.S. are struggling to reinvent themselves and right the ship, so to speak.

    It is our chance as a generation to truly help the next one. If we can struggle and fight and eventually get it right, it will be our legacy. And a very important one, I hope!

  40. btw, Ella, love your responses and input. Always have been a fan. Would love to talk more sometime. My email is

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